2016/05/10

Getting an education

TL;DR -- Zelda games good - Must simplify design -- 

Funny story, I set out to make a hybrid of classic Zelda games and DooM, without actually having played through any of the classic Zelda games.

As a kid, I had my trusty NES, and the only Zelda game I ever had was Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which doesn't quite fit the bill as far as top-down games are concerned.
I rarely got to play the original Legend of Zelda, mostly when at friends' houses, and I personally never took a liking to it back in the day, I sincerely preferred Zelda II (which sounds like heresy to Zelda fans nowadays).

In any case, now I have an old second-hand Gameboy Mico (GBA) I've been slowly adquiring games for, which is harder than it seems, not because the games are not to be found, but because the collector's market results in obsecenely marked-up prices.

So I finally got my hands on two Zelda titles: A Link to the Past and The Minish Cap.

I've played all the way through A Link to the Past and quite enjoyed it. I'm even considering writing up a review or something. In any case, it did give me a lot of perspective regarding my current struggle to develop my silly little game.
I'm currently playing through The Minish Cap, and I'm linking it a lot too, although with some reservations (yes, the written review idea might be worth it). Still, it really is helping me shape up some ideas.

Funny fact, I originally used Link's Minish Cap sprites as a basis for the design of my own sprites!

As for the original Legend of Zelda, I got it too (classics series for the GBA) but... There's something about it that just doesn't engage me, and after wandering around for a bit I tend to lose interest.

Additionally, I also played through Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, which, despite being an RPG, has a level design pretty much exactly as I intend my game's design to be, and I got to experience the confusion such layout generates first hand.

I generally have a tendency to over-engineer, and this project has greatly suffered from it. After playing this games, I'm of a mind of restricting myself to replicating what these games can do, and then look into complicating matters. You know, the advice everyone gives you when you start out... The advice even I give out to others. 

Self-criticism is hard.

pixelDooM: Content Malcontent

TL;DR -- Limiting myself to shareware content --

It's been a while since I last posted, and you don't really care why, so let's jump straight into the thick of it.

I need constraints. If I'm let loose on a project, I just start adding cool features or endlessly debating over tiny details. Debating with myself. Yes, it's as silly as you'd expect.

So, I found myself a neat constraint. It's not a new idea, mind you, but it hit me hard again with the latest kerfuffle regarding content-id on Youtube and how trigger happy some corporations are regarding their IP, which was compounded by the imminent arrival of the new DooM game.

My idea is to work exclusively with "open" content, which has lead me to limit the contents of my DooM fangame to just the contents of the Shareware versions of the original.
This means that only maps, monsters and items present in the Shareware versions will be reflected in the game which spans only the Knee-Deep in Dead episode of the first game.

This is still a lot of content, to be honest, so I've also decided to cut back on "nifty" gameplay ideas, and keep it simple.

Now, I don't know if, from a legal standpoint, this offers any protection at all from a cease and desist order, but I guess it won't be seen as harmful as using content not freely available.
In any case, using less non-original content means it'll be easier to replace it if I ever get in trouble about it.

Onward to doing some work and posting some screenshots!